TransferWise, rebranded to Wise, is a UK fintech that provides one of the fastest and cheapest money transfer service for both individuals and businesses around the world. TransferWise is up to nine times cheaper than a bank.
- The online money transfer service was founded in 2010 by Estonians Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus.
- What makes TransferWise cheaper and faster than other money transfer services is because is uses its local bank accounts to make the transfers instead of the international transfer system. The process avoids expensive currency conversion and transfers crossing borders. Currency conversion is done using the real mid-market exchange rate.
- It has 13 offices around the world and over 7 million customers. £5 billion is sent every month and £1.5 billion is saved by customers every year.
Sending money using Transferwise is easy. You need to create a free account on the TransferWise website. There is also iOS and Android app that you can download. You can sign up with your email adddress, Apple, Google or Facebook. When you are ready to send money after registration, just fill out the details of the person you are sending money to including bank details (they don’t need to have a Wise account) and the amount for the transfer. You will know immediately when the money should get to the recipient. You can make the transfer using a debit/credit card or bank transfer. You will receive a confirmation email when the money has been received. In most cases, the transfers happen the same day.
When you send a large amount with TransferWise, we might also need to check how you got the money for this transfer. And we might ask to see some documents as proof.
Apart from individual transfers, there is business transfer with a fixed fee. Businesses can use Wise’s batch payments system. It allows businesses to make up to 1,000 transactions with a single CSV file upload.
TransferWise started as a money transfer service. However, it later added a virtual banking service, TransferWise Borderless, now called Wise multi-currency account. With this service, you can open a non-resident account. For example, you can open a US non-resident bank account even if you don’t have a US address or social security number. With this account, you can receive and send money internationally. The account comes with a Mastercard debit card.
To open a multi-currency account, you need to get verified with a photo ID, proof of address, and/or a picture of you holding that ID. Verification for multi-currency account usually takes about 2 working days. You need to activate your Borderless account by adding 20 GBP or equivalent in other supported currency. When your account is active, you will get personal account numbers and bank details for GBP, EUR, AUD, NZD and PLN. The account holds 50+ currencies in balances in your account, which can be converted instantly with low fees. You can also order TransferWise debit card available for people and businesses in the UK, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the US (except Nevada and Hawaii) and most of the European Economic Area (EEA).
With TransferWise Borderless account, you won’t be able to get an overdraft, loan or earn interest on your account.
To know the fees for your transfer, enter how much you want to send or how much your recipient should get and TrannsferWise calculator will show you the fee. TransferWise only charges you what it costs them to send your money, plus a small margin.
TransferWise is fully regulated by regulators such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK, Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) as an Authorised Payment Institution with passporting rights across the European Economic Area. See the full list of regulations here.
TransferWise doesn’t protect your money in financial protection schemes like the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in the US. TransferWise doesn’t lend your money or make high-risk investments with it. This is one of the reasons they don’t insure it in a financial protection scheme.
TransferWise uses HTTPS encryption, and 2-step login to protect all your transactions and make sure your communications are secure.
TransferWise has positive reviews on Trustpilot. At the time of writing this article, the service has 4 and a half star out of 5 stars from 84,634 customers.
Wise, formerly TransferWise, is the best money transfer service we would recommend because of low fees, speed, security and the number of supported countries.